I have enough writing paper to last me this lifetime and the next one but I can still be tempted by a good batch of vintage paper at a reasonable price. I don’t buy new paper. I’d much rather get something made when the fountain pen was king.

I’ve been lucky recently. I found two large boxes of excellent paper, one more textured than the other. After that I found a box of paper in the quarto format, lovely paper but softer than the other two. It makes a very bold statement with a medium nib though there is no feathering and little show-through. It’s ideal for a fine nib and would work with some of the paler inks.

Paper, like cotton, is destructive of the environment in its manufacture. My husband remembers the huge paper mills of the south of Scotland, mostly closed now. Those that remain have cleaned up their act – at least as much as it can be cleaned up. Many of the watercourses of Midlothian ran foul for generations and took a long time to recover. Those mills churned out cheap paper for newsprint and hand towels but also the beautiful laid paper and bonds I search for now.

They knew how to make writing paper in those days. Much of today’s paper is made with the ballpoint in mind and even the supposed “good stuff” is often disappointing. I’m grateful for all the unused vintage paper that continues to appear.


7 thoughts on “Paper

  1. Is there anywhere you can but this stuff other than Ebay? I’d love to try some vintage paper.

    Tomoe River paper, by the way, is superb. I know it is modern, but you couldn’t get ink to feather or bleed on it if you tried, at least that was my experience.

  2. Deb. Etsy very occasionally has vintage bond papers, but they are as you say expensive
    I’ve scored some Basildon writing pads there, but the majority are modern .
    I agree that Tomoe River paper is really great, and they have A4 pads now which are my go to paper for ‘exhibition calligraphy’
    But imo, the Rhodia pads whether you go for lined, dots, gridded or plain, are all a person into FPs need for general writing / journaling. I use the spiral bound at the top pads cos the spirals at the side get in the way of my hand …and staples at the side are just a total pain.

    I’ve heard that old typewriter paper is pretty good for FP as well, but again the stuff gets expensive…and Rhodia pads are so cheap I haven’t felt the need to go there .

    1. I always use plain and, as I say, I don’t buy modern paper. If I never found any more vintage paper I would have enough to see me out, but I expect I’ll be tempted again one of these days.

  3. I too am curious to source vintage paper. I think back on the reams of business stationery that my father bouight at an auction (NuBone Corset Company: Guaranteed, Not Sold in Stores) that I’d love to have inherited. I think he must have run through all of it, though….

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